Was Mutnodjmet the Sister or Wife of Nakhtmin?

Recently I received a couple of comments on my post "Did Nefertiti Become Pharaoh?" Both of them were confused that I referred to General Nakhtmin as the son of Ay rather than his son-in-law. If any of this sounds confusing to you and/or you have no idea who these people are, my article gives an overview of the major players.

I have not been able to find any articles or publications that argue for Nakhtmin being Ay's son-in-law rather than his son. If you know of any resources, please let me know in the comments so I can read them. This concept of Nakhtmin the son-in-law comes from only one book as far as I know: Michelle Moran's popular historical novel Nefertiti.

I'm not criticizing Ms. Moran for portraying Nakhtmin and Mutnodjmet's relationship as a romantic one. Historical novelists have to make decisions based on the (often scant) evidence that is available. Not everyone is going to agree with those decisions. If it makes the story better, then that's good.

Having said that, it's an interesting question: could Nakhtmin have been Ay's son-in-law, the husband of Ay's daughter Mutnodjmet? I see four possibilities:
  1. Nakhtmin was the son-in-law of Ay. He was the husband of Ay's daughter Mutnodjmet.
  2. Nakhtmin was the biological son of Ay. He was not married to his sister Mutnodjmet.
  3. Nakhtmin was both the son AND son-in-law of Ay. He married Ay's daughter, his sister Mutnodjmet.
  4. Nakhtmin was neither Ay's son nor his son-in-law. They were not related at all.
The first three possibilities all assume that Ay had a daughter named Mutnodjmet. Before I examine these four scenarios, I will critique the assumption that Mutnodjmet was Ay's daughter and see if it holds any water. That will be the subject of my next post. I'll follow it up with several posts critiquing the possibilities listed above.


  1. I'm still looking for the image of Nakhtmin's wife I saw several years ago, it was the best photographic treatment of her that I've seen yet. To my eye, there's a familial relationship in the faces of (Berlin) Nefertiti and (Cairo Museum) Nakhtmin's Wife, who I believe is Mutnodjmet. Then recently, completely unrelated to Egypt or the 18th dynasty I came across a modern digital image of a girl's face that from the first instant struck me as being a dead ringer for Nakhtmin's wife. I find Mutnodjmet to be more beautiful than Nefertiti and the damage done in antiquity has only a little diminished this masterpiece. The girl's modern image and photos of N's wife are not taken from the same angle but in them both I see the same face, particularly in the forehead, eyebrows and eyes but especially in their nose and mouth.

    1. Terry, that is a very interesting proposal. The royal family and Nefertiti's family did seem to intermarry a lot, and as far as I know marriage among relatives was fairly common, especially among the upper classes. Perhaps Nakhtmin's wife was one of the four nameless daughters of Aye's (possible) older brother Anen.